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The Very Best Queues at Universal Orlando

by Tad on August 15, 2023 2125 Orlando

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Pinterest‘Sup! Tad here. As the Frog Family’s thrill-seeker, I’ve hopped in line for so many rides, shows and attractions at Universal Orlando Resort that I’m THE self-proclaimed ride expert there. As much as I love the actual rides, waiting in line is an entire experience of its own. With every new attraction, queue designs have gotten more immersive and epic over the years! They deserve their own appreciation post, so I’ve put together my definitive ranking of the very best queues at Universal Orlando. (These picks are solely based on the queue, not the ride itself!)

Lines are no fun, and it seems like the ride designers know it, too. Boring switchbacks and safety instructions playing on repeat just don’t cut it anymore. Nowadays, the queues use modern technology to include backstories, audio-animatronics, virtual waiting rooms or even live actors to keep park guests entertained. Sure, you can skip to the front of the line with an Express Pass or get in the shorter Single Riders line … by doing so, you might skip over major parts of the queue. But for these rides, I highly recommend going through the regular line if it’s your first time. Without further ado, cue the best queues at Universal Orlando!

The Best Queues at Universal Orlando

13. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Reign of Kong

The queue at Skull Island: Reign of Kong takes creepy to a whole new level. As you might expect, the queue is lined with hundreds of skulls, as well as spooky skeletons. One particular room features an animatronic shaman who’s eerily chanting in the middle of a giant skull illuminated by fiery effects. Before you hop on the ride, you face another terrifying animatronic — an enormous slug-like parasite with rows of teeth.

12. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Spider-Man

This amazing adventure begins inside The Daily Bugle newsroom. You snake through the cubicles where you see empty desks and abandoned sandwiches. While inside the newsroom, you hear and see live coverage that all of the villains — Hobgoblin, Hydro-Man, Doctor Octopus, Electro and Scream — have joined together to steal the Statue of Liberty. The Daily Bugle's editor, J. Jonah Jameson, wants to send you out to cover this breaking news, thus setting up the ride's storyline.

What I love about the queue is that it keeps the cartoonish theme not only with the videos playing but everywhere you look. As somewhat of a video journalist myself, I find the various signs hanging on the walls quite amusing.

11. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Venture to the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest and through mysterious ruins that Hagrid has been using as a hideout for his beloved beasts. Upon entering the queue, you'll get your first look at the roller coaster’s track, which stays mostly out of view from the entrance. You’ll then stroll by Hagrid’s hut and pumpkin patch before reaching and entering the abandoned, ivy-covered ruins in the Forbidden Forest — a new setting that was created exclusively for the ride. Inside the ruins, Hagrid has set up a terrarium where he kept his Blast-Ended Skrewts before they outgrew it and a nursery for his hatching dragon eggs. In the pre-show, Hagrid and his dog, Fang, join Arthur Weasley, who is helping Hagrid duplicate the motorbike and its sidecar. See if you can spot the tribute to the former Dueling Dragons ride!

10. E.T. Adventure

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - E.T. Adventure

E.T.'s home planet is dying and it's up to you to bring him home safely so he can heal it. Enter a dark lush forest — one of my favorite spots in the park — where government agents are searching for our extra-terrestrial friend. Look out for the Speak & Spell from the movie that spells out "HELP ET" and E.T.'s teacher, Botanicus, as he beams down from his ship and pleads for E.T.'s return.

My absolute favorite feature of this queue is the fresh pine scent that gets pumped through the air. It's so universally liked Universal Orlando now even sells a candle mimicking the aroma (which you can always find stocked in the Universal Legacy Store)! Something about it just smells like home. (While the forest may not be my home, it's certainly home to a bunch of fellow frogs you'll hear croaking throughout the queue!)

9. Revenge of the Mummy

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Revenge of the Mummy

The queue starts out as if you’re getting a behind-the-scenes movie set tour of the fictional sequel to "The Mummy," "Revenge of the Mummy." You initially see displays with various props and costumes while a mockumentary video plays, explaining how the mummy’s curse was proven to be real while filming the original movie, and a crew member has now mysteriously disappeared. Then, you enter a dimly lit room that looks like an archeological dig inside an Egyptian tomb. (Mommy Frog normally needs to use her phone's flashlight in here to see where she's walking.) You can interact with elements that add to the creepiness factor. For instance, reach into a hole in the wall to try to grab a ruby, if you dare.

8. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Men in Black

While you’re outside of the building that resembles the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it looks like you’re waiting to experience an exhibit called “The Universe and You!” After stepping inside, a retro video for the exhibit starts, only to be interrupted by a MIB agent who explains you’re being recruited and need to undergo training. After a ride in an elevator, the queue then snakes down the hallways of the MIB headquarters. You pass by the break room where the “worm guys” are drinking coffee.

But my favorite part comes next … the Immigration Room! While walking on the upper level, look down at the computers and control center with alien twins, Bob and Bhnxaxx, helming operations. If you want a closer look, ask the team members at the ride entrance if the “secret” immigration tour is available (which is usually in the afternoon when they have more team members working, but not on a super busy day). I love combing through the intake forms and Weekly World News tabloid clippings on the desks. Just keep in mind it’s not always available, but if it’s a particularly slow day at the park, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

7. Hogwarts Express — King’s Cross Station

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Hogwarts Express: King's Cross

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for … you get to hop aboard the Hogwarts Express for a one-way trip to Hogwarts! You'll feel like you’re actually in London as you walk into King’s Cross Station. By the way, if you ask a King’s Cross employee how to find Platform 9 ¾, they will look at you in confusion or remark how crazy you sound. You pass by the Divine Magic perfume ad that Harry and Dumbledore see in the "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" movie. Don’t worry about getting hungry in line because you can buy chips (or as the Brits across the pond say, crisps) at a mini-market in the middle of the queue.

Once you walk up a flight of stairs, you’re close to Platform 9 ¾. From a distance — thanks to some magical special effects — you’re able to see the people in front of you walk straight through the brick wall. After turning the corner, the Hogwarts Express and an animatronic Hedwig greet you on the platform!

6. Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - VelociCoaster

As the latest addition to this list, Jurassic World VelociCoaster provides a chance to get up close and personal with a few velociraptors. First, you run into a towering statue of the Raptor Squad — Blue, Delta, Charlie and Echo. Look out the windows ... you'll see the actual coaster fly by, with raptors not too far behind chasing after it, thanks to a special effect. Best of all, enter the stables where animatronic raptors wrestle with the restraints in their paddocks. You can even feel their breath on you!

For fans of the films, you may spot several Easter eggs along the way, such as Dr. Ian Malcom's latest book, "How the World Will End." The pre-shows feature Mr. DNA, Dr. Henry Wu, Claire Dearing and Owen Grady. Also, a unique feature of the queue is that you put your things in the lockers about halfway through the queue! (The lockers are double-sided, so you'll pick up your belongings in a toadally different room as you exit the ride. Be sure to remember the number, color or dinosaur associated with your locker.)

5. Fast and Furious — Supercharged

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Fast and Furious

The building’s exterior looks like an abandoned warehouse surrounded by a chain-link fence and no trespassing signs. But once inside, it’s clear that the Fast and Furious crew has set up their headquarters here. The queue winds through the car garage, which features the original models and replicas from the films. Keep an eye out for Easter eggs that pay tribute to former attractions, such as Disaster! and Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue. Before you get to the loading area, you stop for two pre-shows in the family break room and Tej’s war room, where live actors interact with Mia and Tej via video calls. These short chats set up the ride’s main storyline.

You have the option to use this ride's virtual queue by setting up a return time at a kiosk outside the attraction. There is also a standard line, a Single Riders line and an Express Pass line (which is shared with the virtual queue). When waiting in line, you’re able to access Fast & Furious trivia games through the Universal Orlando app. (And be prepared to never get "Turn Down for What" out of your head.)

4. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Ragtime Gals

Out of the best queues at Universal Orlando, this one is the most unique. As soon as you’re inside, you’re given a color-coded card in the first-floor lobby. While you're here, you can take a look at the history of "The Tonight Show" and its hosts throughout the years. When the color of your ticket is illuminated in the lobby, you can go upstairs to a second waiting area known as the Studio 6B Club. You can relax on comfy couches, watch clips from "The Tonight Show" or play a racing-style video game called “Jimmy Drive.” They’re not always there, but you might also catch a live performance from The Ragtime Gals or a meet-and-greet with Hashtag the Panda. Once the lights turn the same color as your ticket again, there's a short line before entering the ride’s flying theater.

3. Illumination's Villain-Con Minion Blast

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Villain-Con

The evil masterminds at Universal Creative absolutely BROUGHT IT with the queue for Universal Studios Florida's newest attraction. Minions fans and Comic-Con regulars alike will absolutely love every diabolical detail in this jaw-dropping queue! Once you step inside, you're transported to Villain-Con, the ultimate gathering for evil-doers from the first "Minions" film.

From the hilarious list of Breakout Sessions and bulletin board of Community Offerings to the remarkably elaborate booths from vendors such as Diabolique Boutique, Unlawful Outfitters and Corrupt Companions to (my favorite!) the Easter egg-filled Soundstage V Event Map — with the Scarlet Overkill booth mimicking the notorious logo and location of a certain comic book company — walking through this corrupt convention on the way to your Vicious 6 audition is truly half the fun!

2. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Gringotts

In the Harry Potter series, Gringotts is the Wizarding World goblin-run bank located at Diagon Alley. The ride’s queue recreates the grand marble lobby, as seen in the films. Once you enter the queue, you see massive chandeliers and extremely detailed animatronic goblins working behind long counters. As you move past the lobby, you’ll walk by vaults, offices, newspaper clippings — and even the shadows of Harry, Ron and Hermione.

There’s a short pre-show that sets up the ride’s story in Bill Weasley’s office with the eldest Weasley sibling himself and Blordak, a goblin employee. (The ride's storyline ties in with Harry, Ron and Hermione's break-in attempt in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"). Fellow Potterheads, see if you can spot the moving Weasley family portrait near the bottom left of the scene! After you pass a guard who appears to be under a sleeping spell, you step inside an elevator simulation that truly makes you feel like you’re plunging miles underground. Finally, you’ll ascend a spiral staircase that leads you to your magical cart with hanging stalactites above.

1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

I don’t think there’s anything more magical than stepping inside the Hogwarts castle for the first time. Universal Orlando knocked it out of the Quidditch pitch! With a little help from the film series’ art design team, Hogwarts is fully brought to life. The journey through the castle starts outside at the school’s greenhouse where Herbology lessons take place (don’t worry — there aren’t any mandrake screams that will kill you). Once you enter the castle, you’ll pass by the giant hourglasses that keep track of House points and the griffin statue that guards Dumbledore’s office.

The Portrait Gallery features moving portraits of the Hogwarts founders and dozens more. Listen closely to their conversations about Hagrid losing a dragon and how Hogwarts has opened its doors to muggles for the first time. Next, you’ll pass through Dumbledore’s office and his lifelike projection will talk to you. Similarly, Harry, Ron and Hermione greet you in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Be on the lookout for props used in the films in these incredibly detailed rooms! You’ll also encounter the Fat Lady portrait and the Sorting Hat at the end of the captivating queue.

Do you agree with my ranking of the best queues at Universal Orlando? If you'd switch or replace one, share it in the comments below!

Related: Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express Pass

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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351–400 of 2116 comments
Oct 25, 2019 at 1:49 p.m. Katie Barkley Says...

Haven’t been to Universal in years, but great tips!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:49 p.m. Monique Says...

The Forbidden Journey queue can't be beat!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:48 p.m. Dena Says...

Would love to see Universal for the first time ever!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:48 p.m. J Cummings Says...

Harry Potter has always been family favorite. Now the grandkids are enjoying the books can not wait to go to universal and share that with them.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:48 p.m. Angela Pippin Says...

Awesome tips! Thanks!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:46 p.m. Jerome Says...

Great info. Can’t wait to go back!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:46 p.m. Drew Coffey Says...

My wife love's you guys.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:46 p.m. Susan Wilson Says...

I always rely on the Frogs to help me get the best theme park experienced with the grandkids!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:46 p.m. Sarah S Says...

We are planning our first vacation to Universal next winter. Can't wait!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:46 p.m. Shannon DeBoer Says...

Can't wait to see them all when we visit next fall!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. K. Says...

I can’t wait to ride Hagrid’s coaster!! Hope I win!!!!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. Darcie Says...

Fun fun fun!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. Jen M Says...

I forgot some of those things were even lines :)

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. Mel Says...

Looking forward to our next visit!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:44 p.m. Stephanie Sebastian Says...

Some of these rides I wish had longer lines because the queues are so cool, that we are missing out on a lot.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:43 p.m. Anna T. Says...

Great Info! Looking forward to visiting again real soon! =)

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:42 p.m. Carolyn Ludlam Says...

All of the queues in Universal are fantastic! Makes waiting not so bad. Can’t wait to go back!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:42 p.m. Stephanie Cochran Says...

Haven't been before, but would like to go.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:42 p.m. Ariana Curtis Says...

Harry Potter for the win!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:41 p.m. Kimberly Payne Says...

Have gotten much good advice and a few good deals using Undercover Tourist.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:41 p.m. Anthony Says...


Oct 25, 2019 at 1:41 p.m. Steffanie Says...

Haven’t been yet, can’t wait for our first trip!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:41 p.m. Tara Says...

I can't wait to take my little girl to Universal and see her face light up at all things Harry Potter!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:40 p.m. Jasmine A Says...

I LOVE the Escape from Gringotts queue, but MIB is a close 2nd for me ????

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:40 p.m. Anna Says...

This is so helpful. Planning our 1st visit to Universal Studios this Christmas.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:39 p.m. Holly McRae Says...

Best vacation ever! Thanks for the tips.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:39 p.m. Valla Says...

Such a great park!!!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:38 p.m. Rene Says...

Incredible deals!!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:38 p.m. Cramer Says...

We've never been to Universal yet, but would love to get there.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:38 p.m. AC Says...

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts has such a fun que line. Everything at universal studios is well done. I used to be a Disney nerd, now I am a Universal nerd too.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:38 p.m. Tabitha Parker Says...

Even though single rider line is often times shorter, I feel like you miss out on some of the great details that go into the line!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:38 p.m. KeyKey Says...

Spider-Man used to be my favorite queue line, but Hogwarts Express and Kong Skull Island are to of the list now!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. Mike Pfingst Says...

I've not seen the F&F or Hagrid yet, but the rest are pretty amazing. Fallon is my favorite.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. Erika McCauley Says...

So excited for the new Hagrid ride!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. Pam Kovalcik Says...

Totally awesome place. I would do anything to go back

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. LisaMarie Fowler Says...

I've only ever been in line for Harry Potter and the Forbideen Journey (it had just opened) but to this day it's the best queue I've ever been in.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. Michael Says...

Very cool

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. Meg Says...

I can’t wait to take our kids!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:36 p.m. Margaret caudill Says...

Very good info on the rides

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:36 p.m. JG Says...

Harry Potter Queues are great!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:36 p.m. Amanda Kay Says...

Cannot wait to go in March 2020 with my family, my boyfriend, and his girls!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:35 p.m. Fran C Says...

Nice! My favorite queue is definitely Forbidden Journey.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:35 p.m. Tracey Bruns Says...

Super excited about the exclusive Universal event you are holding in the Spring!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:35 p.m. Susan Solt Says...

I've never been to Universal Studios Orlando :/.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:35 p.m. My4men Says...

The queues can be a lot of fun. I would basically agree with that order.

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:34 p.m. Linda k Says...

Here we come 2021! Once the baby turns 3

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:34 p.m. Karla Thompson Says...

Oh my! My favorite place to visit & I get the chance to go for free! It’s been years since I’ve been with all the kids. It’s just my husband & me now and this would be an excellent way to celebrate our empty nest this year of 5 children that were homeschooled! I can’t wait to go back! Thank you Undercover Tourist for this awesome opportunity!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:34 p.m. Wendi Knight Says...

We can’t wait to visit universal!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:34 p.m. Daniel Lafleur Says...

Awesome trip!!!!!

Oct 25, 2019 at 1:33 p.m. Danielle Maloney Says...

I have never been to Universal with my kids yet. I have been waiting for the twins to reach 48” at least! Well they had their physical on Tuesday & they are 48.2” & 48.4”. Sign me up!!

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